Jan 19 2008

Hidden in Plain Sight

Published by at 12:30 pm under Peregrines

Peregrine falcon at McKees Rocks (photo by Joe Fedor, Jr.)Sometimes a change goes unnoticed because we don’t expect to see it.  Our brains explain it away because it doesn’t fit.

I believe that’s what’s happened with a pair of peregrine falcons at the Ohio River near Brunots Island.  Peregrines have been rare for so long that we can’t help but think a falcon more than four miles from the nearest peregrine nest must be that nesting bird.

The first PABIRDS report of peregrines near Brunots Island was made in January 2004 by Dave Wilton.  Reports continued over the years, including one from Scott Gregg in May 2006 and another from Sam Sinderson in May 2007, when all the area’s peregrines had nestlings miles away. 

Then last month Mark Vass reported two peregrines chasing a red-tailed hawk away from the area.  Dan Yagusic, who discovered the Bridge Birds at the Allegheny, nudged me into thinking about Mark’s sighting.  To him it was exactly the sort of thing he’d seen for three years at the Allegheny River before he made the connection that peregrines were nesting there.

I decided to put a request on PABIRDS asking if anyone in the Brunots Island area was up for watching peregrines.  Joe Fedor Jr. responded.

Joe works near the site and began looking for peregrines and photographing them when they were close enough.  Soon he had a picture of a pair perched on a nearby electric tower.  Then, using his scope, he took the picture shown above. 

Aha!  A peregrine hidden in plain sight.   Maybe this spring Joe will find a nest.  I hope so!

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